California Cracks Down on Synthetic Turf Over Health Concerns

Send us an email at

California is taking steps to restrict the use of synthetic turf over concerns about the health risks associated with the chemicals used in its production.

Governor recently vetoed a bill that would have banned PFAS chemicals in synthetic lawns, but he signed another bill that allows cities and counties to ban artificial turf altogether.

Synthetic turf is a man-made, non-living replacement of turfgrass that requires little water or maintenance.

The grass blades are made of fibers such as nylon or plastic, while the base is typically a crumb rubber made from used tires, plastic pellets, or sand.

Synthetic grass usually contains PFAS chemicals.

PFAS chemicals are a known carcinogen that can interfere with hormones, reproduction, immunity, and cause developmental delays in children.

Research is still being done to fully understand the health implications of PFAS chemicals, but current research suggests that they are absolutely bad for human health.

PFAS chemicals can enter the human body through contact with skin, by breathing the particles in, or through water sources, especially groundwater sources.

How does groundwater get contaminated? Through leaching, mainly.

Microplastics from the grass blades and crumb rubber can also leach into groundwater and freshwater bodies.

Synthetic turf, like other artificial surfaces, heats up by several degrees more than living lawns.

This can release harmful chemicals from the crumb rubber base and create dangerous heat islands.

The best alternative to synthetic turf is living plants.

Living plants provide shade, buffer sun exposure, provide windbreaks, help reduce stormwater runoff, and reduce soil and water erosion.

They also help to cool the air and improve air quality.

There are several drought-friendly approaches to landscaping, including warm-season grasses such as Bermuda grass and Buffalo grass.

This can also be done by doing away with grass altogether and planting trees or drought-resilient varieties of plants that are endemic to California.

Even though plants require water and maintenance, their cooling benefits and ecosystem benefits go far beyond the water savings one could get through synthetic turf.

We believe that California is making the right decision by restricting the use of synthetic turf.

Do share your thoughts with us!

Synthetic turf is a health hazard that poses a serious threat to public health and the environment.

We urge other states to follow California's lead and take steps to ban synthetic turf.